Good things come to those who wait. Patience is a virtue. Work hard, be kind, and amazing things will happen. These phrases truly sum up the journey that led Polish power couple, Magdalena Kasprzyk and Piotr Perzynski, to launch Tsuma Ibiza – a high-end, year-round sushi hotspot near Ibiza town. Within a year of opening its glamorous doors, the fine dining destination has become synonymous with the finest sushi, sashimi, sake and caviar this side of Tokyo, and boasts a well-deserved reputation among discerning island foodies, one the duo is extremely proud of.
The road to Tsuma Ibiza began in Poland, where Magdalena and Piotr met at university, while studying to become engineers. Life seemed certain, until a fateful holiday overseas saw Piotr develop a fascination for the art of sushi. Suddenly, a new world opened up – one that could take the couple all over the world. University degree completed, Piotr broke the mould to follow his new passion for Japanese cuisine and began working in a sushi restaurant. To an outsider, this may have looked like a risky decision, but to Piotr and Magdalena, it was a new horizon.
First stop: London, where Piotr had been offered a 12-hour trial shift in a renowned Japanese restaurant. Dropping everything and flying across the continent, the trial was a success, prompting a rapid move to London to undergo the strict training required of a classical sushi chef. Magdalena joined him a few months later to embark on her own journey of Japanese discovery – achieving the highest level of sake sommelier qualification attainable. A stint in Manchester followed as the duo finessed their skills, however the weather was less-than-enjoyable – sunshine was calling. Tenerife came next, and then Mediterranean island of Ibiza came into the conversation.
Magdalena and Piotr boarded a plane to Ibiza in 2017 with a small amount of luggage and huge dreams, although it would be some time before Tsuma Ibiza would materialise. By day, they pounded the pavements seeking work and accommodation, and by night, they slept in hostels, while waiting for the right opportunities to arise. Piotr’s perseverance and persistence landed him a coveted sushi chef position in an A-list destination, and a turning point came the night Magdalena spent all night contemplating life and the future on a bench in Vara de Rey. “We have always been optimistic,” she says. “But with only one of us employed, it was starting to feel like we might have to go back to Poland. Then, I got a call offering me a job in a restaurant – finally, we were on our way.”
Winters were spent honing their skills in five-star hotels in the UK and running a successful sushi restaurant in St Barths while summers saw them rise through the ranks of the island’s culinary scene, mastering their language skills in addition to restaurant management, front-of-house prowess and seeking out the best suppliers in the industry. The entrepreneurial seeds for Tsuma Ibiza were being sown – then along came the pandemic. “Opening a restaurant was always our dream,” says Magdalena. “At this point, the thoughts became louder. We had so much time to think, to put pen to paper. We drove all around England, talking, planning, dreaming. Listening to a lot of music. And making a lot of notes.”
A plan was emerging, even without a premises. “Ibiza made sense,” says Magdalena. “We love the sun. We needed the positive energy. Ibiza is a place where people don’t just work to live, they really live and pursue their passions.” The island’s proximity to Poland was also a plus, and the final clincher was its abundant nature. “We came with a little car packed full of stuff,” remembers Magdalena. “We were ready to go. We hadn’t wasted any time in Poland. We’d already bought custom-designed furniture that accommodates the right amount of sushi plates, chopsticks, glasses and menus, we had menus and logos ready – we were in the thick of it all, even without a locale.”
Tsuma Ibiza initially began life as a catering company for private villas and events. “Step by step, we were building up our future clientele,” recalls Magdalena. “We had so much positive feedback which was beautiful. We loved being able to talk with people in an intimate atmosphere, explaining the food and sharing stories about sake. Our vision was always super clear. We wanted to bring high quality, classic Japanese cuisine to Ibiza – not just sushi.” They found the location that was just right at the beginning of 2022 – a new-build on the outskirts of a residential area near Ibiza town, where they could design and build the restaurant of their dreams from the ground up.
Their engineering backgrounds gave Piotr and Magdalena an advantage when deciding on kitchen, storage and interior layouts, the locations of fittings and much more, but it was the hands-on painting, fitting drywall, and building the stunning bar that forms the centrepiece of Tsuma Ibiza that truly imprinted their DNA throughout the beautiful space. Within just six months, the building husk was transformed into the chic restaurant you see today, where Magdalena’s own photography lines the wall, urban design elements contrast with industrial fittings and emerald-green velvet curtains and chairs add a touch of high-glamour to it all.
Piotr’s respect for tradition combined with a flair for contemporary Ibiza fine dining is what makes diners return to Tsuma Ibiza time after time. Every flavour combination is complementary – no one ingredient ever overpowers another. Take the pairing of truffles or Parmigiano Reggiano with silky sashimi; the squid with black sea salt boasting endless umami; or the shrimp tempura teamed with matcha – combinations that fascinate diners, who get to watch Piotr prepare their cuisine across the open bar. “I love when people start by ordering a classic, then let us recommend something and say: ‘Wow, I didn’t expect that to be so good!’” says Piotr. “That’s the ultimate compliment.”
Absolutely every dish is made fresh to order, using traditional methods gleaned from the Japanese chefs he trained with, and 97 of the products used at Tsuma Ibiza come directly from Japan to guarantee authenticity. “Quality, timing and temperature are key,” Piotr says, referencing fish, shellfish, Wagyu, rice and caviar – specifically, Antonius Caviar. Tsuma Ibiza is the brand’s exclusive Balearic distributor, supplying restaurants, hotels and villas across the islands. Piotr first encountered the company while working in London, impressed by its exceptionally smooth and clean taste. Upon visiting the farm, where Siberian sturgeon are bred in artisanal waters that are neutral in aromas, he felt a strong connection with the family behind the product. “They reminded us of ourselves in their pursuit of quality.”
The catering arm of Tsuma Ibiza continues to run, with sushi and sake pairings offered along with personalised caviar tastings, as a speciality. With over 20 sake flavour profiles in her portfolio, Magdalena is adept at easing newcomers into the world of fermented rice wine, whether in their homes or in the restaurant. “I start by asking for flavour preferences,” she explains. “If you like something light and fruity, perhaps you’ll like a ginjo style sake. If you prefer more full-bodied, you could try a classic, junmai sake. Some people ‘get it’ straight away – others take time. We start gentle!” Perfectionists by nature, they strive to elevate the experience as Tsuma Ibiza now enters its second year of business.
With Tsuma Ibiza, the couple have created a blissful and stylish air-conditioned reprieve from the summer heat and humidity; a respite from the autumn rain; and a cosy haven in the wintertime with the sounds of vintage vinyl floating over the airwaves and a sophisticated ambience (plus convenient parking) that has won them a very loyal local clientele. “We know this is not a touristic location,” says Magdalena. “We have so many regulars, including other business owners, so when tourists discover us – which is more often lately – we know they are foodies. They’ve done their research. It’s nice to be recognised for our quality.”